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Trump Talks Russia, Obamacare, Border Wall, 'Fake News' And More In Press Conference

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Defiant and unyielding, President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday adamantly denied reports that Russia had obtained compromising personal and financial information about him, calling it a "tremendous blot'' on the record of the intelligence community if it had released such material.

As CBS2's Dick Brennan reported, the incoming president came out swinging in his first news conference since late July. He firmly pushed back on the media reports and chided news organizations for publishing the material late Tuesday night.

"I think it's a disgrace that information would be let out. I saw the information, I read the information outside of that meeting,'' he said, a reference to a classified briefing he received from intelligence leaders. "It's all fake news. It's phony stuff. It didn't happen. It was gotten by opponents of ours."
CBS News has learned that an appendix to an intelligence report presented to Mister Trump and President Obama contained details of an alleged Russian effort to compromise the president-elect with damaging information about his business and personal life.

But the details have not been verified.

One of the allegations in the dossier claimed sexual misbehavior.

"Does anyone really believe that story?" Trump said. "I'm also very much of a germaphobe, by the way – believe me."

Trump also had no time for questions from media outlets he believed were unfair to him.

During the news conference, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta said: "Can you give us a question since you're attacking us? Can you give us a question?"

"No, not you, your organization is terrible. Quiet. Quiet," he said.

Acosta continued to demand an opportunity to ask a question.

"Don't be rude. Don't be rude. Don't. Be. Rude," Trump said. "I'm not going to give you a question. You are fake news."

Acosta responded, "Mr. President-elect, that's not appropriate.''

Trump also slammed BuzzFeed, which published the unverified document alleging that Russia had compromising information on him. He called the publication a "failing pile of garbage."

His extraordinary defense dominated a highly anticipated press conference in which the future president also discussed the Affordable Care Act, his proposed border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, his plans to disentangle himself from his sprawling global business empire and the announcement of a new Cabinet member.

But when asked about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump called it "an asset, not a liability'' and an improvement over what he called America's current "horrible relationship with Russia.''

"If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks, that's called an asset not a liability. I don't know if I'm going to get along with Vladimir Putin, I hope I do, but there's a good chance I won't.''

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer also denounced the reports about Russia's influence on Trump.

"The report is not an intelligence report, plain and simple," Spicer said. "For all the talk lately about fake news, this political witch hunt by some in the media is based on some of the most flimsy reporting and is frankly shameful and disgraceful."

Pence said the decision by some media to publish the reports could "only be attributed to media bias'' and an attempt to "demean'' Trump.

Trump said the report never should have been released and thanked news organizations that showed restraint.

"A thing like that should have never been written, it should never have been had, and it should certainly never have been released," Trump said. "It was a group of opponents who got together, sick people, and they put that crap together."

Several government and intelligence officials told CBS News that an addendum to the classified intelligence report on Russia's efforts to interfere in the election contained unverified details of potentially compromising information that Russia has gathered on the president-elect.

Sources say the information originally came from a former British intelligence officer who is considered credible. It was turned over to U.S. intelligence last year.

It's not clear if the possible compromising information was discussed with Trump or just given to him during his briefing last Friday. U.S. officials are said to be in the process of corroborating what information the Russians may have.

The addendum was not part of the classified report that was distributed to a wider group of people last week.

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A source told CBS News the classified report was given to President Barack Obama, Trump himself and eight top Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Media outlets reported on the document late Tuesday and Trump denounced it on Twitter before his news conference. He suggested he was being persecuted for defeating other GOP presidential hopefuls and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election.

"Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to 'leak' into the public," he said on Twitter. "One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?''

He referenced the tweet at the news conference, saying "That's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. I think it's a disgrace. That information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public."

The president-elect did acknowledge at the news conference that Putin was likely behind hacking during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"He shouldn't have done it," Trump said. "I don't believe he will be doing it more now."

But he also said the Democratic National Committee was "totally open to be hacked'' and argued that if Russian hackers had gotten anything on him they "would have released it.''

Trump also said that "hacking is bad,'' but added "look at what we learned from that hacking.''

At the news conference, Trump also announced his plans for the future of the Trump Organization, bringing to the podium attorney Sheri Dillon of Morgan Lewis, who worked with the Trump Organization on the arrangement.

At the news conference, Trump also announced his plans for the future of the Trump Organization, bringing to the podium attorney Sheri Dillon of Morgan Lewis, who worked with the Trump Organization on the arrangement.

Dillon said the Trump Organization would continue to pursue deals in the U.S., though Trump will relinquish control of the company to his sons and an executive, put his business assets in a trust and take other steps to isolate himself from his business. She said Trump "should not be expected to destroy the company he built.''

The move appears to contradict a previous pledge by the president-elect. In a tweet last month, Trump vowed to do "no new deals'' while in office.

The lawyer who advised Trump also said that the Trump Organization will appoint an ethics adviser to its management team who must approve deals that could raise concerns about conflicts.

Further, Dillon said, Ivanka Trump will also have no further involvement in the corporation.

Dillon also said any profits from foreign government payments made to Trump's hotels will be donated to the Treasury Department.

"President elect trump wants there to be no doubts in the minds of the American public that he is completely isolating himself from his business interests," Dillon said.

On "Obamacare," Trump said a replacement will be offered with the confirmation of his health secretary. He said his plan for President Barack Obama's health care law would be "repeal and replace,'' adding that it would be "essentially simultaneously.''

"We are going to have a healthcare that is far less expensive and far better," Trump said.

Trump called the law "a complete and total disaster'' and said it was "imploding.'' He argued that Republicans would do doing a "tremendous service'' for Democrats by replacing the law.

Trump also said he'll begin negotiations with Mexico on funding his promised wall along the southern border immediately after he takes office.

The president-elect's team and Republicans in Congress have been discussing a plan in which American taxpayers would initially cover the costs of the wall. Trump said that's because he wants to get it started fast.

"What's the difference? I want to get the wall started," he said, adding that, "Mexico will pay for the wall, but it will be reimbursed.''

Trump also pushed back on reports that his wall could wind up becoming more of a fence.

"It's not a fence, it's a wall," he insisted. "We're going to build a wall.''

The President-elect said he would take quick action on the Supreme Court and name a successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia within two weeks of taking office.

According to a recent Quinnipiac Poll, 51 percent of voters said they disapproved of the way Trump was managing his role as president-elect. However, 52 percent of voters expressed optimism about the next four years under a Trump presidency, compared to 43 percent that expressed a negative outlook on the future.

In his last weeks as president, Barack Obama maintains record-high approval ratings, at 55 percent, according to the poll.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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